Thursday, February 29, 2024

"Democracy in Default"

Coming soon from Columbia University Press: Democracy in Default: Finance and the Rise of Neoliberalism in America by Brian Judge.

About the book, from the publisher:
How did neoliberalism arise? Faced with the crises of the 1970s, a coalition of neoliberal intellectuals, conservative politicians, and business interests carried out a vast project of walling off the economy from democracy, ensuring the dominance of finance―or so the conventional story goes. Democracy in Default offers a new perspective on the birth of neoliberalism, showing that this common narrative confuses cause and effect. Financialization was not the offspring of deregulation but the mechanism that allowed neoliberalism to take root.

Brian Judge argues that financialization was a nearly spontaneous response to a crisis within liberalism. He examines how liberalism disavows the problem of distributive conflict, leaving it vulnerable when those conflicts erupt. When the postwar growth engine began to slow, finance promised a way out of the resulting political impasse, allowing liberal democracies to depoliticize questions of distribution and sustain the existing social and economic order. Elected officials were not simply captured or co-opted but willingly embraced financial solutions to their political problems. Unleashing the financial imperative to generate monetary returns, however, ushered in an all-encompassing transformation. Vivid case studies―the bankruptcy of Stockton, California; the investment strategy of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System; and the 2008 financial crisis―illustrate how the priorities of financial markets radically altered liberal democratic governance. Recasting the political and economic transformations of the past half century, Democracy in Default offers a bracing new account of the relationship between neoliberalism and financialization.
Visit Brian Judge's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

"The Rich Earth between Us"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: The Rich Earth between Us: The Intimate Grounds of Race and Sexuality in the Atlantic World, 1770–1840 by Shelby Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this theory-rich study, Shelby Johnson analyzes the works of Black and Indigenous writers in the Atlantic World, examining how their literary production informs "modes of being" that confronted violent colonial times. Johnson particularly assesses how these authors connected to places—whether real or imagined—and how those connections enabled them to make worlds in spite of the violence of slavery and settler colonialism. Johnson engages with works written in a period engulfed by the extraordinary political and social upheavals of the Age of Revolution and Indian Removal, and these texts—which include not only sermons, life writing, and periodicals but also descriptions of embodied and oral knowledge, as well as material objects—register defiance to land removal and other forms of violence.

In studying writers of color during this era, Johnson probes the histories of their lived environment and of the earth itself—its limits, its finite resources, and its metaphoric mortality—in a way that offers new insights on what it means to imagine sustainable connections to the ground on which we walk.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

"Estranged Pioneers"

New from Oxford University Press: Estranged Pioneers: Race, Faith, and Leadership in a Diverse World by Korie Little Edwards and Rebecca Y. Kim.

About the book, from the publisher:
Churches remain some of the most segregated spaces in the United States. In congregations that are multiracial, leadership can be a source of conflict. What does it mean for pastors of color to lead in multiracial spaces? Who are the pastors of color that serve as head clergy of multiracial congregations? What advantages do they have and what challenges do they encounter? How do they manage their role? How do their experiences compare to their white pastor counterparts who also head multiracial congregations?

Drawing on data from a nationally representative comparative study of multiracial congregations across the United States, including more than 100 in-depth interviews, Estranged Pioneers both answers these questions and discusses the broader implications for community leaders in multiracial contexts.

Korie Little Edwards and Rebecca Y. Kim make three primary arguments. First, pastors of color who lead multiracial congregations are estranged pioneers-they leave their familiar home churches to lead multiracial congregations, but often find themselves estranged from their old religious community as well as their new one. Second, compared to their white counterparts, they are better able to recognize pervasive white hegemony and also more easily cross cultural and racial boundaries, allowing them to reconcile norms from at least two cultures. Finally, Edwards and Kim argue that leaders of color can function as indispensable brokers who can bridge segregated racial networks. In a society that is increasingly diverse yet where segregation persists, they have the unique power and ability to function as bridges that connect otherwise segregated communities. Estranged Pioneers reveals how pastors of color are leading the way towards a more united multiracial future.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 26, 2024

"The Age of Revolutions"

New from Basic Books: The Age of Revolutions: And the Generations Who Made It by Nathan Perl-Rosenthal.

About the book, from the publisher:
A panoramic new history of the revolutionary decades between 1760 and 1825, from North America and Europe to Haiti and Spanish America, showing how progress and reaction went hand in hand

The revolutions that raged across Europe and the Americas over seven decades, from 1760 to 1825, created the modern world. Revolutionaries shattered empires, toppled social hierarchies, and birthed a world of republics. But old injustices lingered on and the powerful engines of revolutionary change created new and insidious forms of inequality.

In The Age of Revolutions, historian Nathan Perl-Rosenthal offers the first narrative history of this entire era. Through a kaleidoscope of lives both familiar and unknown—from John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Napoleon to an ambitious French naturalist and a seditious Peruvian nun—he retells the revolutionary epic as a generational story. The first revolutionary generation, fired by radical ideas, struggled to slip the hierarchical bonds of the old order. Their failures molded a second generation, more adept at mass organizing but with an illiberal tint. The sweeping political transformations they accomplished after 1800 etched social and racial inequalities into the foundations of modern democracy.

A breathtaking history spanning three continents, The Age of Revolutions uncovers how the period’s grand political transformations emerged across oceans and, slowly and unevenly, over generations.
Learn more about The Age of Revolutions at the Basic Books website.

The Page 99 Test: The Age of Revolutions.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 25, 2024

"Seeking News, Making China"

Coming soon from Stanford University Press: Seeking News, Making China: Information, Technology, and the Emergence of Mass Society by John Alekna.

About the book, from the publisher:
Contemporary developments in communications technologies have overturned key aspects of the global political system and transformed the media landscape. Yet interlocking technological, informational, and political revolutions have occurred many times in the past. In China, radio first arrived in the winter of 1922-23, bursting into a world where communication was slow, disjointed, or non-existent. Less than ten percent of the population ever read newspapers. Just fifty years later, at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, news broadcasts reached hundreds of millions of people instantaneously, every day. How did Chinese citizens experience the rapid changes in information practices and political organization that occurred in this period? What was it like to live through a news revolution? John Alekna traces the history of news in twentieth century China to demonstrate how large structural changes in technology and politics were heard and felt. Scrutinizing the flow of news can reveal much about society and politics—illustrating who has power and why, and uncovering the connections between different regions, peoples, and social classes. Taking an innovative, holistic view of information practices, Alekna weaves together both rural and urban history to tell the story of rise of mass society through the lens of communication techniques and technology, showing how the news revolution fundamentally reordered the political geography of China.
Visit John Alekna's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 24, 2024

"Empire of Rags and Bones"

New from Oxford University Press: Empire of Rags and Bones: Waste and War in Nazi Germany by Anne Berg.

About the book, from the publisher:
Paper, bottles, metal scrap, kitchen garbage, rubber, hair, fat, rags, and bones--the Nazi empire demanded its population obsessively collect anything that could be reused or recycled. Entrepreneurs, policy makers, and ordinary citizens conjured up countless schemes to squeeze value from waste or invent new purposes for defunct or spent material, no matter the cost to people or the environment. As World War II dragged on, rescued loot--much of it waste--clogged transport routes and piled up in warehouses across Europe.

Historicizing the much-championed ideal of zero waste, Anne Berg shows that the management of waste was central to the politics of war and to the genesis of genocide in the Nazi Germany. Destruction and recycling were part of an overarching strategy to redress raw material shortages, procure lebensraum, and cleanse the continent of Jews and others considered undesirable. Fostering cooperation between the administration, the party, the German Army, the SS, and industry, resource extending schemes obscured the crucial political role played by virtually all German citizens to whom salvaging, scrapping, and recycling were promoted as inherently virtuous and orderly behaviors. Throughout Nazi occupied-Europe, Jews, POWs, concentration camp inmates, and enemy civilians were forced to recycle the loot, discards, and debris of the Nazi race war. In the end, the materials that were fully exploited and the people who had been bled dry were cast aside, buried, burned, or left to rot. Nonetheless, waste reclamation did not have the power to win the war.

Illuminating how the Nazis inverted the economy of value, rescuing discards and murdering people, Empire of Rags and Bones offers an original perspective on genocide, racial ideology, and World War II.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 23, 2024

"Across the Green Sea"

Coming soon from the University of Texas Press: Across the Green Sea: Histories from the Western Indian Ocean, 1440-1640 by Sanjay Subrahmanyam.

About the book, from the publisher:
A history of two centuries of interactions among the areas bordering the western Indian Ocean, including India, Iran, and Africa.

Beginning in the mid-fifteenth century, the regions bordering the western Indian Ocean—“the green sea,” as it was known to Arabic speakers—had increasing contact through commerce, including a slave trade, and underwent cultural exchange and transformation. Using a variety of texts and documents in multiple Asian and European languages, Across the Green Sea looks at the history of the ocean from a variety of shifting viewpoints: western India; the Red Sea and Mecca; the Persian Gulf; East Africa; and Kerala.

Sanjay Subrahmanyam sets the scene for this region starting with the withdrawal of China's Ming Dynasty and explores how the western Indian Ocean was transformed by the growth and increasing prominence of the Ottoman Empire and the continued spread of Islam into East Africa. He examines how several cities, including Mecca and the vital Indian port of Surat, grew and changed during these centuries, when various powers interacted until famines and other disturbances upended the region in the seventeenth century. Rather than proposing an artificial model of a dominant center and its dominated peripheries, Across the Green Sea demonstrates the complexity of a truly dynamic and polycentric system through the use of connected histories, a method pioneered by Subrahmanyam himself.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 22, 2024

"Missionary Diplomacy"

Coming soon from Cornell University Press: Missionary Diplomacy: Religion and Nineteenth-Century American Foreign Relations by Emily Conroy-Krutz.

About the book, from the publisher:
Missionary Diplomacy illuminates the crucial place of religion in nineteenth-century American diplomacy. From the 1810s through the 1920s, Protestant missionaries positioned themselves as key experts in the development of American relations in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Middle East. Missionaries served as consuls, translators, and occasional trouble-makers who forced the State Department to take actions it otherwise would have avoided. Yet as decades passed, more Americans began to question the propriety of missionaries' power. Were missionaries serving the interests of American diplomacy? Or were they creating unnecessary problems?

As Emily Conroy-Krutz demonstrates, they were doing both. Across the century, missionaries forced the government to articulate new conceptions of the rights of US citizens abroad and of the role of the US as an engine of humanitarianism and religious freedom. By the time the US entered the first world war, missionary diplomacy had for nearly a century created the conditions for some Americans to embrace a vision of their country as an internationally engaged world power. Missionary Diplomacy exposes the longstanding influence of evangelical missions on the shape of American foreign relations.
Visit Emily Conroy-Krutz's website.

The Page 99 Test: Christian Imperialism.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 21, 2024


New from Oxford University Press: Wuhan: How the COVID-19 Outbreak in China Spiraled Out of Control by Dali L. Yang.

About the book, from the publisher:
The definitive account of the Chinese government's response to the initial Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which began as an outbreak in Wuhan in late 2019, has claimed millions of lives and caused unprecedented disruptions. Despite its generation-defining significance, there has been a surprising lack of independent research examining the decisions and measures implemented in the weeks leading up to the Wuhan lockdown, as well as the missteps and shortcomings that allowed the novel coronavirus to spread with minimal hindrance.

In Wuhan: How the COVID-19 Outbreak in China Spiraled Out of Control, Dali L. Yang scrutinizes China's emergency response to the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, delving into the government's handling of epidemic information and the decisions that influenced the scale and scope of the outbreak. Yang's research reveals that China's health decision-makers and experts had an excellent head start when they implemented a health emergency action program to respond to the outbreak at the end of December 2019. With granular detail and compelling immediacy, Yang investigates the political and bureaucratic processes that hindered information flows and sharing, as well as the cognitive framework that limited understanding of the virus's contagiousness and hampered effective decisions.

Yang's research uncovers that urgent warnings from sources outside Wuhan helped shift the Chinese health leadership's focus towards epidemic control. Once this shift occurred, China's party-state mobilized resources and enforced a lockdown in Wuhan. This lockdown was divided into two phases: providing additional medical resources and enforcing community-level lockdowns and home confinement. The 76-day lockdown contained the virus within China's borders, but the leadership and public later faced the challenge of reopening China in a world still grappling with SARS-CoV-2.

Wuhan: How the COVID-19 Outbreak in China Spiraled Out of Control also critiques the Chinese authorities for prioritizing dominance and control in their response to the Wuhan outbreak. This preoccupation led to the suppression, distortion, and neglect of crucial disease information, fostering an atmosphere of organized silence. The punishment of whistleblowers and the banning of the immediate release of research findings on the novel coronavirus further contributed to this silencing. Yang emphasizes the importance of retaining public trust during a pandemic and underscores the need for transparency, openness to new information, and direct communication of risk with the public.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

"The Political Outsider"

New from Stanford University Press: The Political Outsider: Indian Democracy and the Lineages of Populism by Srirupa Roy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Defying the dire predictions that attended its birth as an independent nation-state in 1947, the Indian republic is more than seventy-five years old. And yet, it is a place where criticisms of actually existing democracy are intense and strident. In recent years, the trope of victimized people suffering at the hands of a predatory elite and political dysfunction has reaped rewards. The populist language of redemptive outsiders pledging to combat a corrupt system has been harnessed in successful electoral campaigns, like the majoritarian regime of Narendra Modi.

Tracking the shift from postcolonial nation-building to democracy-rebuilding, Srirupa Roy shows how the political outsider came to be a valorized figure of late-twentieth century Indian democracy, tasked with the urgent mission of curing a broken democratic system―what Roy terms "curative democracy." Drawing attention to an ambivalent political field that folds together authoritarian and democratic forms and ideas, Roy argues that the long 1970s were a crucial turning point in Indian politics, when democracy was suspended by the declaration of a national emergency and then subsequently restored. By tracing the crooked line that connects the ideals of curative democracy and the political outsider to the populist antipolitics and strongman authoritarian rule in present times, this book revisits democracy from India, and asks what the Indian experience tells us about the trajectory of global democratic politics.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 19, 2024

"The Devil Sat on My Bed"

New from Oxford University Press: The Devil Sat on My Bed: Encounters with the Spirit World in Mormon Utah by Erin E. Stiles.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the mountains of beautiful, bucolic northern Utah, many Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are visited by spirits. Local folklore is filled with stories of uncanny encounters of all kinds, and Latter-day Saint scripture and prophetic teachings emphasize the reality and the importance of the spirit world. Spirit encounters are common in this community. People report visits from the benevolent spirits of kin offering aid and also from evil spirits who tempt and harass. Combining folklore research with ethnography, the book examines many types of spirit encounters and shows that such experiences must be understood as particularly Latter-day Saint phenomena.

Spirit encounters take place within a larger cultural and religious framework that emphasizes the important relationships between living and non-living beings. For Mormons in northern Utah, spirit lore and experiences are interpreted and understood with reference to Latter-day Saint cosmology and particularly Mormon conceptions of the nature of the person, the spirit, and the family, and the nature of righteousness, evil, and spiritual power. The book also explores how people in Utah differentiate between "Mormon culture," the institutional church, and how they understand the "true" meaning of the religion, which has relevance far beyond understanding of people's relationship to the spirit realm and spirit power, and speaks to key issues of concern―and polarization―among Latter-day Saints today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 18, 2024

"Singing the Land"

New from the University of Michigan Press: Singing the Land: Hebrew Music and Early Zionism in America by Eli Sperling.

About the book, from the publisher:
Singing the Land: Hebrew Music and Early Zionism in America examines the proliferation and use of popular Hebrew Zionist music amongst American Jewry during the first half of the twentieth century. This music—one part in a greater process of instilling diasporic Zionism in American Jewish communities—represents an early and underexplored means of fostering mainstream American Jewish engagement with the Jewish state and Hebrew national culture as they emerged after Israel declared its independence in 1948. This evolutionary process brought Zionism from being an often-polemical notion in American Judaism at the turn of the twentieth century to a mainstream component of American Jewish life by 1948. Hebrew music ultimately emerged as an important means through which many American Jews physically participated in or ‘performed’ aspects of Zionism and Hebrew national culture from afar.

Exploring the history, events, contexts, and tensions that comprised what may be termed the ‘Zionization’ of American Jewry during the first half of the twentieth century, Eli Sperling analyzes primary sources within the historical contexts of Zionist national development and American Jewish life. Singing the Land offers insights into how and why musical frameworks were central to catalyzing American Jewry’s support of the Zionist cause by the 1940s, parallel to firm commitments to their American locale and national identities. The proliferation of this widespread American Jewish-Zionist embrace was achieved through a variety of educational, religious, economic, and political efforts, and Hebrew music was a thread consistent among them all.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 17, 2024

"Singer of the Land of Snows"

New from the University of Virginia Press: Singer of the Land of Snows: Shabkar, Buddhism, and Tibetan National Identity by Rachel H. Pang.

About the book, from the publisher:
The singular role of Shabkar in the development of the idea of Tibet

Shabkar (1781–1851), the “Singer of the Land of Snows,” was a renowned yogi and poet who, through his autobiography and songs, developed a vision of Tibet as a Buddhist “imagined community.” By incorporating vernacular literature, providing a narrative mapping of the Tibetan plateau, reviving and adapting the legend of Tibetans as Avalokiteśvara’s chosen people, and promoting shared Buddhist values and practices, Shabkar’s concept of Tibet opened up the discursive space for the articulation of modern forms of Tibetan nationalism.

Employing analytical lenses of cultural nationalism and literary studies, Rachel Pang explores the indigenous epistemologies of identity, community, and territory that predate contemporary state-centric definitions of nation and nationalism in Tibet and provides the definitive treatment of this foundational figure.
Visit Rachel H. Pang's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 16, 2024

"Reluctant Race Men"

New from Oxford University Press: Reluctant Race Men: Black Challenges to the Practice of Race in Nineteenth-Century America by Joan L. Bryant.

About the book, from the publisher:
Activists in the earliest Black antebellum reform endeavors contested and deprecated the concept of race. Attacks on the logic and ethics of dividing, grouping, and ranking humans into races became commonplace facets of activism in anti-colonization and emigration campaigns, suffrage and civil rights initiatives, moral reform projects, abolitionist struggles, independent church development, and confrontations with scientific thought on human origins. Denunciations persisted even as later generations of reformers felt compelled by theories of progress and American custom to promote race as a basis of a Black collective consciousness.

Reluctant Race Men traces a history of the disparate challenges Black American reformers lodged against race across the long nineteenth century. It factors their opposition into the nation's history of race and reconstructs a reform tradition largely ignored in accounts of Black activism. Black-controlled newspapers, societies, churches, and conventions provided the principal loci and resources for questioning race. In these contexts, people of African descent generated a lexicon for refuting race, debated its logic, and, ultimately, reinterpreted it.

Reformers' challenges call into question the notion that race is a self-evident site of identity among Black people. Their ideas instead spotlight legal, political, religious, social, and scientific practices that configured human difference, sameness, hierarchy, and consciousness. They show how a diverse set of actions constituted multi-faceted American phenomena dubbed "race."
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 15, 2024

"The China Firm"

New from Columbia University Press: The China Firm: American Elites and the Making of British Colonial Society by Thomas M. Larkin.

About the book, from the publisher:
What roles did Americans play in the expanding global empires of the nineteenth century? Thomas M. Larkin examines the Hong Kong–based Augustine Heard & Company, the most prominent American trading firm in treaty-port China, to explore the ways American elites at once made and were made by British colonial society. Following the Heard brothers throughout their firm’s rise and decline, The China Firm reveals how nineteenth-century China’s American elite adapted to colonial culture, helped entrench social and racial hierarchies, and exploited the British imperial project for their own profit as they became increasingly invested in its political affairs and commercial networks.

Through the central narrative of Augustine Heard & Co., Larkin disentangles the ties that bound the United States to China and the British Empire in the nineteenth century. Drawing on a vast range of archival material from Hong Kong, China, Boston, and London, he weaves the local and the global together to trace how Americans gained acceptance into and contributed to the making of colonial societies and world-spanning empires. Uncovering the transimperial lives of these American traders and the complex ways extraimperial communities interacted with British colonialism, The China Firm makes a vital contribution to global histories of nineteenth-century Asia and provides an alternative narrative of British empire.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

"Empire of Refugees"

New from Stanford University Press: Empire of Refugees: North Caucasian Muslims and the Late Ottoman State by Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky.

About the book, from the publisher:
Between the 1850s and World War I, about one million North Caucasian Muslims sought refuge in the Ottoman Empire. This resettlement of Muslim refugees from Russia changed the Ottoman state. Circassians, Chechens, Dagestanis, and others established hundreds of refugee villages throughout the Ottoman Balkans, Anatolia, and the Levant. Most villages still exist today, including what is now the city of Amman. Muslim refugee resettlement reinvigorated regional economies, but also intensified competition over land and, at times, precipitated sectarian tensions, setting in motion fundamental shifts in the borderlands of the Russian and Ottoman empires. Empire of Refugees reframes late Ottoman history through mass displacement and reveals the origins of refugee resettlement in the modern Middle East. Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky offers a historiographical corrective: the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire created a refugee regime, predating refugee systems set up by the League of Nations and the United Nations. Grounded in archival research in over twenty public and private archives across ten countries, this book contests the boundaries typically assumed between forced and voluntary migration, and refugees and immigrants, rewriting the history of Muslim migration in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Visit Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

"Morality and Socially Constructed Norms"

New from Oxford University Press: Morality and Socially Constructed Norms by Laura Valentini.

About the book, from the publisher:
Observe social distancing. Tip your waiter. Give priority to the elderly. Stop at the red light. Pay your taxes. Do not chew with your mouth open. These are imperatives we face every day, imposed upon us by norms that happen to be generally accepted in our environment. Call these 'socially constructed norms'. A constant presence in our lives, these norms elicit mixed feelings. On the one hand, we treat them as valid standards of behaviour and respond to their violation with emotions such disapproval, resentment, and guilt. On the other hand, we look at them with suspicion: after all, they are arbitrary human constructs that may contribute to oppression and injustice. In light of this ambivalence, it is important to have a criterion telling us when, if ever, we are morally bound by socially constructed norms and when we should instead disregard them. Morality and Socially Constructed Norms systematically develops such a criterion. It traces the moral significance of those norms to the agential commitments that underpin them, and explains why those commitments ought to be respected, provided the content of the corresponding norms is consistent with independent moral constraints. The book then explores the implications of this view for three core questions in moral, legal, and political philosophy: the grounding of moral rights, the obligation to obey the law, and the wrong of sovereignty violations. Morality and Socially Constructed Norms shows how much progress can be made in normative theorizing when we give socially constructed norms their (moral) due.
Visit Laura Valentini's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 12, 2024

"Moral Atmospheres"

New from Columbia University Press: Moral Atmospheres: Islam and Media in a Pakistani Marketplace by Timothy P. A. Cooper.

About the book, from the publisher:
Lahore’s Hall Road is the largest electronics market in Pakistan. Once the center of film and media piracy in South Asia, it now specializes in smartphones and accessories. For Hall Road’s traders, conflicts between the economic promises and the moral dangers of film loom large. To reconcile their secular trade with their responsibilities as devoted Muslims, they often look to adjudicate the good or bad moral “atmosphere” (mahaul) that can cling to film and media.

Timothy P. A. Cooper examines the diverse and coexisting moral atmospheres that surround media in Pakistan, tracing public understandings of ethical life and showing how they influence economic behavior. Drawing on extensive ethnographic work among traders, consumers, collectors, archivists, cinephiles, and cinephobes, Moral Atmospheres explores varied views on what the relationship between film and faith should look, sound, and feel like for Pakistan’s Muslim-majority public. Cooper considers the preservation and censorship of film in and outside of the state bureaucracy, contestations surrounding heritage and urban infrastructure, and the production and circulation of sound and video recordings among the country’s religious minorities. He argues that a focus on atmosphere provides ways of seeing moral thresholds as mutable and affective, rather than as fixed ethical standpoints. At once a vivid ethnography of a market street and a generative theorization of atmosphere, this book offers fresh perspectives on moral experience and the relationship between religion and media.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 11, 2024

"Governing the Displaced"

New from Cornell University Press: Governing the Displaced: Race and Ambivalence in Global Capitalism by Ali Bhagat.

About the book, from the publisher:
Governing the Displaced answers a straightforward question: how are refugees governed under capitalism in this moment of heightened global displacement? To answer this question, Ali Bhagat takes a dual case study approach to explore three dimensions of refugee survival in Paris and Nairobi: shelter, work, and political belonging.

Bhagat's book makes sense of a global refugee regime along the contradictory fault lines of passive humanitarianism, violent exclusion, and organized abandonment in the European Union and East Africa.

Governing the Displaced highlights the interrelated and overlapping features of refugee governance and survival in these seemingly disparate places. In its intersectional engagement with theories of racial capitalism with respect to right-wing populism, labor politics, and the everyday forms of exclusion, the book is a timely and necessary contribution to the field of migration studies and to political economy.
Visit Ali Bhagat's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 10, 2024

"Transparency and Reflection"

New from Oxford University Press: Transparency and Reflection: A Study of Self-Knowledge and the Nature of Mind by Matthew Boyle.

About the book, from the publisher:
The topic of self-knowledge has been central to philosophy since antiquity--but if self-knowledge deserves to be not just a goal that each of us should privately pursue, but a topic that philosophers should investigate in general terms, on what basis does it claim our attention? Much contemporary work in philosophy and cognitive science treats human cognition and perception as processes of representation manipulation, unaffected by our capacity for self-awareness. In Transparency and Reflection Matthew Boyle challenges this paradigm by urging a reconsideration of the classical idea that the capacity for reflective self-knowledge is an essential feature of human mindedness.

Boyle argues that our ability for reflective self-knowledge is a byproduct of the "first person perspective" on our own lives that all human beings possess, as rational animals, and he seeks to defend this perspective against influential forms of skepticism about its soundness. Once we appreciate the connection between having a first person perspective on our own minds and having the capacity for self-knowledge, Boyle suggests, we can see a link between debates about how we know our own minds and the dark but intriguing idea that Jean-Paul Sartre expressed in his remark that, for a human being, "to exist is always to assume its being" in a way that implies "an understanding of human reality by itself."
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 9, 2024

"Raising Two Fists"

New from Stanford University Press: Raising Two Fists: Struggles for Black Citizenship in Multicultural Colombia by Roosbelinda Cárdenas.

About the book, from the publisher:
Raising Two Fists is a historically grounded ethnography of Afro-Colombian political mobilization after the multicultural turn that swept Latin America in the 1990s, when states began to recognize and legally enshrine rights for Afro-descendants. Roosbelinda Cárdenas explores three major strategies that Afro-Colombians' developed in their struggles against racialized dispossession—the defense of culturally specific livelihoods through the creation of Black Territories; the demand for differential reparations for Afro-Colombian war victims; and the fight for inclusion in Colombia's peace negotiations and post-conflict rebuilding—illustrating how they engage in this work both as participants of organized political movements and in their everyday lives. Although rights-based claims to the state have become necessary and pragmatic tools in the intersecting struggles for racial, economic, and social justice, Cárdenas argues that they continue to be ineffective due to Colombia's entrenched colonial racial hierarchies. She shows that while Afro-Colombians pursue rights-based claims, they also forge African Diasporic solidarities and protect the flourishing of their lives outside of the frame of rights, and with or without the state's sanction—a "two-fisted" strategy for Black citizenship.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 8, 2024

"The AI Military Race"

New from Oxford University Press: The AI Military Race: Common Good Governance in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Denise Garcia.

About the book, from the publisher:
In The AI Military Race, Denise Garcia examines the complexities entailed in creating a global framework to govern the military use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by proposing inclusive and humane ways to forge cooperation. Three novel humanist conceptions are introduced: common good governance, transnational networked cooperation, and humanity's security.

This academic volume is the first to survey the threats to peace in the shifting world order by investigating the current patterns and trends in the global use of, and investment in, militarizing AI and the development of autonomous systems. Garcia weaves in an insider participant-observer focus on the decade-long high-level diplomatic attempts to set limits in autonomy in weapons systems - known as 'killer robots' - and offers a path for the creation of an international treaty on autonomous weapons, and ways to create common good governance for the militarization of AI.

This important study draws on earlier successful cooperation and international law-making in several areas including conventional arms, nuclear and chemical weapons bans, the protection of outer space and the ozone, the Arctic, Antarctica, and the oceans. It offers an appraisal of the way that previous successes in global cooperation can inform the formation of common good governance on AI that is respectful of future generations and protective of human dignity and the common good of humanity.
Visit Denise Garcia's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

"The Lettered Indian"

New from Duke University Press: The Lettered Indian: Race, Nation, and Indigenous Education in Twentieth-Century Bolivia by Brooke Larson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Bringing into dialogue the fields of social history, Andean ethnography, and postcolonial theory, The Lettered Indian maps the moral dilemmas and political stakes involved in the protracted struggle over Indian literacy and schooling in the Bolivian Andes. Brooke Larson traces Bolivia's major state efforts to educate its unruly Indigenous masses at key junctures in the twentieth century. While much scholarship has focused on “the Indian boarding school” and other Western schemes of racial assimilation, Larson interweaves state-centered and imperial episodes of Indigenous education reform with vivid ethnographies of Aymara peasant protagonists and their extraordinary pro-school initiatives. Exploring the field of vernacular literacy practices and peasant political activism, she examines the transformation of the rural “alphabet school” from an instrument of the civilizing state into a tool of Aymara cultural power, collective representation, and rebel activism. From the metaphorical threshold of the rural school, Larson rethinks the politics of race and indigeneity, nation and empire, in postcolonial Bolivia and beyond.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

"The Danger Imperative"

New from Columbia University Press: The Danger Imperative: Violence, Death, and the Soul of Policing by Michael Sierra-Arévalo.

About the book, from the publisher:
Policing is violent. And its violence is not distributed equally: stark racial disparities persist despite decades of efforts to address them. Amid public outcry and an ongoing crisis of police legitimacy, there is pressing need to understand not only how police perceive and use violence but also why.

With unprecedented access to three police departments and drawing on more than 100 interviews and 1,000 hours on patrol, The Danger Imperative provides vital insight into how police culture shapes officers’ perception and practice of violence. From the front seat of a patrol car, it shows how the institution of policing reinforces a cultural preoccupation with violence through academy training, departmental routines, powerful symbols, and officers’ street-level behavior.

This violence-centric culture makes no explicit mention of race, relying on the colorblind language of “threat” and “officer safety.” Nonetheless, existing patterns of systemic disadvantage funnel police hyperfocused on survival into poor minority neighborhoods. Without requiring individual bigotry, this combination of social structure, culture, and behavior perpetuates enduring inequalities in police violence.

A trailblazing, on-the-ground account of modern policing, this book shows that violence is the logical consequence of an institutional culture that privileges officer survival over public safety.
Visit Michael Sierra-Arévalo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 5, 2024

"Beware Euphoria"

New from Oxford University Press: Beware Euphoria: The Moral Roots and Racial Myths of America's War on Drugs by George Fisher.

About the book, from the publisher:
Beware Euphoria uncovers the roots of America's moral obsession with drug regulation, offering a lively and fascinating history of the nation's racialized fear of intoxication. Challenging the idea that early antidrug laws in the US arose from racial animus, George Fisher instead shows in textured detail how US drug laws were driven by a deep-seated cultural taboo against euphoria and a preoccupation with white moral integrity. From nineteenth-century opium dens to the war on cocaine and cannabis, and more, Fisher offers a vivid tour of the sites of conflict, along with a convincing case for how the moral discourses and social contexts of the day pit drugs against the law. Bringing this history up to the present, Fisher shows how the racial dynamic has changed dramatically. As harsher penalties swell prisons with mostly nonwhite dealers, antidrug laws have come under renewed scrutiny as a tool of racial oppression. The book closes with an examination of cannabis legalization, driven in part by the movement for racial justice.
George Fisher is the Judge John Crown Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, where he has been teaching evidence, prosecution practice, and criminal legal history since 1995. He began practice as a Massachusetts prosecutor and later taught at Boston College Law School, Harvard Law School, and Yale Law School.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 4, 2024

"The Promise of Piety"

New from Cornell University Press: The Promise of Piety: Islam and the Politics of Moral Order in Pakistan by Arsalan Khan.

About the book, from the publisher:
In The Promise of Piety, Arsalan Khan examines the zealous commitment to a distinct form of face-to-face preaching (dawat) among Pakistani Tablighis, practitioners of the transnational Islamic piety movement the Tablighi Jamaat. This group says that Muslims have abandoned their religious duties for worldly pursuits, creating a state of moral chaos apparent in the breakdown of relationships in the family, nation, and global Islamic community. Tablighis insist that this dire situation can only be remedied by drawing Muslims back to Islam through dawat, which they regard as the sacred means for spreading Islamic virtue. In a country founded in the name of Muslim identity and where Islam is ubiquitous in public life, the Tablighi claim that Pakistani Muslims have abandoned Islam is particularly striking.

The Promise of Piety shows how Tablighis constitute a distinct form of pious relationality in the ritual processes and everyday practices of dawat and how pious relationality serves as a basis for transforming domestic and public life. Khan explores both the promise and limits of the Tablighi project of creating an Islamic moral order that can transcend the political fragmentation and violence of life in postcolonial Pakistan.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 3, 2024

"Saving a Rainforest and Losing the World"

New from Yale University Press: Saving a Rainforest and Losing the World: Conservation and Displacement in the Global Tropics by Gregory M. Thaler.

About the book, from the publisher:
An unflinching investigation of the false promises of land sparing, exposing how its illusory successes mask the failures of green capitalism. For two decades, the concept of land sparing, the claim that agricultural intensification can spare land by preventing forest clearing for agricultural expansion, has dominated tropical forest conservation. Land sparing policies transform landscapes and livelihoods with the promise of reconciling agricultural development with environmental conservation. But that land sparing promise is false. Based on six years of research on agrarian frontiers in Indonesia, Brazil, and Bolivia, this book traces where and how land sparing becomes policy and charts the social and ecological effects of these political contests. Gregory M. Thaler explains why land sparing appears successful in some places but not in others and reveals that success as an illusion achieved by displacing deforestation to new frontiers. The failure of land sparing exposes a harsh truth behind assurances of green capitalism: capitalist development is ecocide.
Visit Gregory Thaler's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 2, 2024

"The Rich Flee and the Poor Take the Bus"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: The Rich Flee and the Poor Take the Bus: How Our Unequal Society Fails Us during Outbreaks by Troy Tassier.

About the book, from the publisher:
How can we make society more resilient to outbreaks and avoid forcing the poor and working class to bear the brunt of their harm?

When an epidemic outbreak occurs, the most physical and financial harm historically falls upon the people who can least afford it: the economically and socially marginalized. Where people live and work, how they commute and socialize, and more have a huge impact on the risks we bear during an outbreak. In The Rich Flee and the Poor Take the Bus, economist Troy Tassier examines examples ranging from the 430 BCE plague of Athens to the COVID-19 pandemic to demonstrate why marginalized groups bear the largest burden of epidemic costs—and how to avoid these systemic failures in the future.

The links between epidemics and social issues—such as inequality, discrimination, and financial insecurity—are not always direct or clear. Tassier reveals truths hidden in plain sight, from the way population density statistics can be misleading to the often-misunderstood differences between risk and uncertainty. The disproportionate harm experienced by marginalized individuals is not the product of their own decisions; instead, the collective choices of society and the tangled web of interactions across people and communities leave these groups most exposed to the perils of epidemics.

However, there is reason to hope. Utilizing a wealth of economic and population data, Tassier argues that we can leverage lessons learned from historic and recent outbreaks to design better economic and social policies and more just institutions to protect everyone in society when inevitable future epidemics arrive.
Visit Troy Tassier's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 1, 2024

"Making Empire"

New from Oxford University Press: Making Empire: Ireland, Imperialism, and the Early Modern World by Jane Ohlmeyer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Ireland was England's oldest colony. Making Empire revisits the history of empire in Ireland―in a time of Brexit, 'the culture wars', and the campaigns around 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Statues must fall'―to better understand how it has formed the present, and how it might shape the future.

Empire and imperial frameworks, policies, practices, and cultures have shaped the history of the world for the last two millennia. It is nation states that are the blip on the historical horizon. Making Empire re-examines empire as process―and Ireland's role in it―through the lens of early modernity. It covers the two hundred years, between the mid-sixteenth century and the mid-eighteenth century, that equate roughly to the timespan of the First English Empire (c.1550-c.1770s).

Ireland was England's oldest colony. How then did the English empire actually function in early modern Ireland and how did this change over time? What did access to European empires mean for people living in Ireland? This book answers these questions by interrogating four interconnected themes. First, that Ireland formed an integral part of the English imperial system, Second, that the Irish operated as agents of empire(s). Third, Ireland served as laboratory in and for the English empire. Finally, it examines the impact that empire(s) had on people living in early modern Ireland. Even though the book's focus will be on Ireland and the English empire, the Irish were trans-imperial and engaged with all of the early modern imperial powers. It is therefore critical, where possible and appropriate, to look to other European and global empires for meaningful comparisons and connections in this era of expansionism.

What becomes clear is that colonisation was not a single occurrence but an iterative and durable process that impacted different parts of Ireland at different times and in different ways. That imperialism was about the exercise of power, violence, coercion and expropriation. Strategies about how best to turn conquest into profit, to mobilise and control Ireland's natural resources, especially land and labour, varied but the reality of everyday life did not change and provoked a wide variety of responses ranging from acceptance and assimilation to resistance.

This book, based on the 2021 James Ford Lectures, Oxford University, suggests that the moment has come revisit the history of empire, if only to better understand how it has formed the present, and how this might shape the future.
Visit Jane Ohlmeyer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue